The Kongs are back in this remastered Wii U gem on Nintendo Switch. The Snowmads have taken over the island, turned it into their own frozen, tropical paradise, and thrown the Kongs out. Join Donkey Kong and the gang, including Funky Kong to save their island in Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze for the Nintendo Switch.
Is Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze something to go ape for, or is it worse than a bruised banana? Find out in our review after the break!
Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze
Developed by Retro Studios
Published by Nintendo
Released: 4th May 2018
Review copy provided by Nintendo
Tropical Freeze begins at Donkey Kong’s hut on Donkey Kong Island celebrating his birthday with the rest of the Kongs. Before Donkey Kong can blow out his candle, a blast of cold air is blown in from an army of Snowmad ships… including an ice dragon. The Kongs are blown far away from the island while their home transforms into a frozen keep for the Snowmads. Can Donkey Kong and his crew take back the island and return to his celebrations?
Throughout your journey there are six main islands, including Donkey Kong Island. It is your job to visit each one, completing the levels with various platforming challenges, and defeat the boss of each island. The Nintendo Switch version is just as amazing as the Wii U version that got released four years ago, so I was really happy that it was coming to the Nintendo Switch too.
Personally, I find the level design of Tropical Freeze some of the best I’ve hd the chance to play in regards to 2/2.5D platforming games. There is plenty of variation of the environments from thick mangroves and bright savannahs, to fruity factories and deep water ruins. There is also a fantastic sense of challenge with the majority of the levels. The first few may be pretty easy, but once you’ve left the first island, then things will start to heat up.
If you want even more of a challenge, then you’ll want to try and collect every KONG letter in the game, the levels you uncover from that will really test your mettle. Prepare to have all those old-school schoolboy gaming errors thrown right at your face in the KONG levels… one of which I’ve actually been stuck on for two days! Don’t you get me started about Hard Mode though. Of course, these are just the optional levels, those which do not need to be completed to get to the end of the game.
Some of my favourite levels actually happen to be the mine cart levels, something I’m glad the series didn’t drop in the reboot of the series. As you can imagine, you’ll be riding a mine cart for the majority for these types of levels. You are automatically propelled forward, and all you can do is jump or duck to avoid pesky obstacles. They are definitely a lot of fun, especially High Tide Ride where you are transversing through some ancient underwater ruins.
If you are having a bit of trouble with the levels or collecting all the KONG or Puzzle Pieces, then you’ll be happy to know that you have a few options to aid you on you quest. Firstly, and most importantly, you have the chance to bring in one of your Kong crew. Returns only had Diddy Kong, but Tropical Freeze has Diddy, Dixie Kong, and Cranky Kong.
Diddy can use his jetpack to let you hover in the air for a brief moment. Dixie can use her ponytail to not only hover in the air for a bit, but also give you a bit of extra height, she can also use her ponytail as a propeller while underwater. Cranky Kong can use his walking stick to give your bounce some more oomph, as well as let you bounce off certain hazards and enemies without getting hurt. In addition to those special powers, when you collect enough bananas, you can perform a Kong POW. Diddy’s POW will turn nearby enemies into extra life balloons, Dixie’s will turn them into gold hearts (you can take even more hits with these), and Cranky’s will turn them into Banana Coins.
You can also stop by Funky Kong’s Fly ‘n Buy Shop to purchase helpful items. These include Extra Life Balloons, Extra Hearts, and even Kong Partner Barrels. Before you start a level, you can choose up to three items you’ve purchased to take in with you. If you have a friend handy, you can split the JoyCons and one player can play as Donkey Kong, while the other player can play at either Diddy, Dixie, or Cranky. Sometimes it can b very helpful getting in an extra pair of hands.
If you are still having trouble, then the Nintendo Switch has a very exclusive mode just for you, Funky Mode. Funky Mode, which can only be chosen when you create your save file, will add Funky Kong as a playable character. If you play as Funky, you will not be able to have the other Kongs join you (unless you do a bit of multiplayer), however Funky does have some neat tricks up his sleeveless sleeves which make up for this.
Funk Kong will always start off with five hearts instead of the regular two, allowing him to take more hits than your average Joe Kong. He also has a double jump ability, and he can also twirl his surfboard to descend slowly. He can also use his surfboard to stand on most spiny hazards, as well as bop most enemies that the others can’t. Oh, he can also breathe underwater, take up to five items into a level, as well as access the inventory in-level too. Basically, Funky Kong is a beast, but most importantly, very beginner-friendly. If you choose to play as Donkey Kong in Funky mode however, the rest of the Kongs receive an extra heart. In Funky Mode you can switch between Donkey or Funky Kong at any point during level selection.
Another matter that truly shines in Tropical Freeze is the soundtrack. David Wise has done an absolutely amazing job with the music in Tropical freeze to truly grasp the different environments throughout the game. He also happens to be one of my favourite video game composers.
My favourite track would probably be to the introductory level of Bright Savannah, Grassland Groove. It’s such a brilliant track.very bizarre, it is almost impossible to listen to this piece and be depressed, it’s uplifting, exciting, and exotic. While listening to this wondrous track, you could imagine yourself trekking out on a safari adventure in a Lion King-esque savannah. Grassland Groove is likely my favourite level to ever come out on a 2D side-scrolling game, it is truly a sensory experience, both auditory and visually, which is why I’m attaching gameplay from the level below!
Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze was an amazing game on the Wii U and it’s still the same delight on the Nintendo Switch. The level design is great, and there’s a really good sense of challenge with the option to make things a tad easier if you’re having a bit of difficulty, especially with the brilliantly implementation of Funky Mode. Though that mode alone may not be enough to get previous Tropical Freeze owners to dip into the barrel again, it is still a game I would recommend to every Nintendo Switch owner… plus, I would totally still double dip.
If you played the game to death on Wii U and have no interest in playing it again, kudos to you, it’s probably for the best for you to skip it, however if you were as deeply in love with the game as I am, or if you never played it and love a good platformer, then I would definitely recommend Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze.
Final Rating – 5 out of 5
Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is out now for Nintendo Switch!